Whose acceptance is more important to you?

November 22, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
(John 5:41-44 (NIV))

Ouch! That hurts.

Would Jesus say this to us today? Have we become like the people that He was condemning in this passage?

Many claim to be part of the Body of Christ, but do our actions reflect this? Do we seek acceptance from man more than we seek acceptance from God? Do we look to people who are accepted by man and think that they must be Godly for they have been blessed with fame and fortune? How do we look upon Christian music artists and mega-church pastors? Do we praise them for their fame or do we listen and discern what they are saying with respect to God’s Word?

It doesn’t only apply at the grand scale. It can apply to a local congregation if we seek acceptance from one another instead of from God. Please do not confuse this type of acceptance with what we are called to do as a church. We, as the Body of Christ, are called to accept people as Jesus accepted people. We are not called to place the desire to be accepted by people above accepting Jesus.

After we have done something that the Lord has called us to do, do we seek acceptance from our friends, family and fellow members of the Body of Christ? I honestly believe that the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector has merit in our ways of seeking acceptance.

    To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
    “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
    “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
(Luke 18:9-14 (NIV))

When we seek acceptance from anyone else but God, we are trying to exalt ourselves. We are prideful. We want everybody to know who we are and what we have done. Is this how Jesus told us to serve?

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:2-4 (NIV))

We can seek the acceptance of man or we can seek the acceptance of Jesus.

Whose acceptance is more important to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Praise the light of Jesus!

August 1, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (KJV))

When this was written, people did not have a grasp of the concept that the sun never sets on God’s creation. They did not know that it is always daylight somewhere in the world. Also, when this was written, people lived their lives around the sun. Unlike today, people basically spent every daylight hour up and about their lives. To them, the sun was the day. In essence, this verse instructed people to praise God every waking hour of the day of their lives!

In our society, the sun no longer determines our daily lives as it did when David wrote this. These words still need to be looked upon as instructions to praise God every waking hour of our lives and not just during the daylight hours, especially if you think about the passages that tell us that most sin occurs in the dark.

So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
(1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 (NIV))

Do not stray from your path into the darkness. Stay in the light. Remember that there is always light in the darkness. That light is Jesus Christ. Turn towards Him and keep focused on Him in all that you do.

Praise the light of Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we praise God like David did?

February 10, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.
(Psalms 113:3 (KJV))

I want you to think about this passage. Do you truly realize what it is saying?

Think about the time in history when this was written. Most people were up and working when the sun was coming up and most people went to bed with the sun going down. The sun actually reflected the waking hours of most people when this was written. Perhaps we should read it with a fresh perspective and a slightly paraphrased translation.

From the time that you wake up until the time that you go to sleep, praise God!

Doesn’t that make more sense to you as we place the passage in the context of our lives today?

I honestly believe that this is what David was telling us when he wrote this Psalm. We are to praise God with every waking breath that we take. We are to live our lives fully devoted to God. No wonder that David was known as a man after God’s own heart. He spent every waking moment in praise of the God that he longed to be with.

Can we honestly say the same about our praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to celebrate the greatest joy!

December 23, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

With Christmas just a few days away, the Body of Christ is embracing the joy of our Savior’s birth.

Have you ever stopped to think that we cannot truly experience joy if we have never experienced sorrow? Joy is an emotion that comes when we break free from something. We experience joy when we find someone and we know that we will not be alone. We experience joy when we persevere over a trial or tribulation. In essence, joy is the mountain top experience that we eagerly welcome after we have fought our way through the valleys in our lives.

With that concept outlined, think about the joy of Christmas again.

We are joyful because up until the birth of Jesus, humanity was a fallen and lost creation. We had no redeemer. We had no Savior. We, as a whole group, were facing the sorrow of sin and death and we had no way to escape the consequences of our sin.

There is joy in Christmas!

There is joy when we face trials.

There is joy because we have a risen Savior.

In just a few days, we will celebrate the physical birth of our Lord and Savior. I pray that you will embrace the joy of the celebration. I also pray that you will not forget that our joy came at a price that we did not have to pay.

God gave us great joy through the birth of a baby. It is time to praise God for His great gift!

Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Praise the LORD, O my soul!

October 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
(Psalms 103:1-2 (NIV))

It seems that every day something terrible happens in this world. Terrorism, assassinations, plagues, wars, rumors or wars, droughts, floods, and much, much more. Are things truly getting worse or have we just become so obsessed with these things that when something happens, it takes center stage in our lives? Personally, I think that it is both.

We have ways of knowing what is going on around the world almost at the very moment that it happens. We sit on the edge of our seats as we wait to hear the latest updates on the most recent tragedy. In all of this, how many of the inhabitants of this earth actually take time to stop and pray for God’s Will to be done? Do we pray for an end to these events that have us so captivated or do we forget God and wonder how humanity will solve the problems?

We are told to praise God. It does not say to only praise Him when things go good. We are to praise Him in all things. We are told to not forget His benefits. What could possibly be the benefits of praising God? I can think of many.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

Only God knows what each day will bring. We can face it with fear and trepidation or we can praise God and face it with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lord, grant me the ability to welcome each day earnestly praising you !

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a person after God’s own heart?

May 14, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.
(Psalms 25:1-3 (NIV))

David was very prolific. We have numerous writings by David and through his writings we can learn something about the man whom possessed a heart after God’s own. He was not ashamed to praise God. He was not ashamed to cry out to God. He was not ashamed to ask God for His protection and His mercy. He was not ashamed to admit when he had sinned.

I wonder what happened to the leaders like this?

The world is in great need of men and women who seek God in all that they do. The world needs people like this in positions of leadership and authority. Sadly, these positions seem to be relegated to those who despise God and all that is righteous. I realize that this last statement was a broad and sweeping generalization, and that there are people like this, but why are their voices silenced? Why does the world ignore them? Why do we not hear of world leaders falling on their knees and asking for God’s guidance, wisdom, strength and mercy?

Sadly, this type of behavior is now looked upon as a sign of weakness and a lack of intelligence. Where are the David’s? Where are the Solomon’s? Where are the people who call upon the name of the Lord?

We can start by having righteous men and women call upon the Lord wherever they are. We can unite in our desires to see God glorified.

I have a question that I want you to think about.

If someone had the ability to look back at your life through your writings, through the words of others and through the impact that you have had on others, would they come to the conclusion that you have a heart after God’s own?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God at all times?

February 4, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.
(Job 1:21 (NAS))

Even after all that Job had experienced, he still felt the need to praise God. During all of his later trials and misfortunes, he still praised God.

True, there were times when he was angry at God, yet he still knew his respective place in the creation. He knew that God was the One who caused all things to be and that it was through this action that caused him to exist.

He praised his Creator even when he did not fully understand the circumstances that he was in. Only one other person in history has suffered more than Job did, and that was Jesus Christ. In both cases, God was praised for His power and authority in all things.

If these two can praise God even when faced with the things that they faced, then we can praise God in our daily lives when we think that all is wrong.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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